xCodeGhost To Wreak Havoc On IOS Devices

November 23, 2015 by  
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A security firm has released a list of ongoing and incoming threats that cover a range of things from Apple’s iOS to the Internet of Things (IoT).

In its third report this year, Quick Heal warns that Apple users in particular better brace themselves for impact as more and more malware writers who’ve earned their stripes targeting Android users turn their attention to iOS.

“As the number of iPhone owners rises across the world, iOS has become a new potential target for Android malware authors and hackers. It is expected that Android malware will soon be altered to attack iOS users as well, and jailbroken iOS devices will be the first wave of targets for these attacks,” explained the firm (PDF).

“Recently, the ‘XcodeGhost’ malware was found on the Apple App Store and this is just the beginning of such attacks.”

In a section on wearables, Quick Heal predicts hackers will increasingly target fitness trackers, something that other security researchers have already warned about.

A lot of space in the report is reserved for Android-flavoured threats, and users are offered advice on protecting themselves such as if there is an option to use a password over a touch sign-in, then you ought to take it.

“A group of researchers have discovered a serious security flaw in the Android Lollipop version running on devices right now. This flaw allows attackers to bypass the lockscreen of an Android smartphone by using a massive password and thereby exposing the homescreen,” it explains.

“The attack essentially works by opening the in-built camera application and afflicts people using a password to protect their Android device and lock their screen.”

The most significant Android threat is a rascal called Android.Airpush.G, which claims 30 percent of the bug pool and is the kind of adware thing that makes you want to take a hammer to your phone screen. The second most prominent issue is Android.Reaper.A, which can haul in a large data harvest when in place.

Quick Heal is not the only security company in town, and a post on the Symantec website also seems set to put the fear into the Apple user community. That post, read it here – if you dare, says that the Mabouia ransomware is capable of causing a problem for Mac and PC users alike.

Fortunately, Mabouia is a proof-of-concept attack that a researcher shared with both Apple and Symantec. Symantec says that the PoC effort achieves at least one first.

“Mabouia is the first case of file-based crypto ransomware for OS X, albeit a proof-of-concept. Macs have nevertheless already been targeted by ransomware in the form of browser-based threats,” it explained.

“For example, in 2013, researchers at Malwarebytes discovered browser-based ransomware that targeted Safari for Mac users through a malicious website. The website directed Windows users to a drive-by download, while Mac users were served JavaScript that caused Safari to display persistent pop-ups informing the user their browser had been “locked” by the FBI for viewing illegal content.”


Will AMD’s Newest SoC Save The Company?

November 3, 2015 by  
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The troubled chipmaker AMD thinks it is onto a winner with its new AMD Embedded R-Series SOC processors.

Designed for demanding embedded needs, the processors incorporate the newest AMD 64-bit x86 CPU core (“Excavator”), plus third-generation Graphics Core Next GPU architecture, and better power management for reduced energy consumption.

AMD tells us that combined, these chips provide industry-leading graphics performance and key embedded features for next-generation designs. The SOC architecture enables simplified, small form factor board and system designs from AMD customers and a number of third party development platform providers.

What AMD brings to the party is its graphics and multimedia performance, including capability for hardware-accelerated decode of 4K video playback and support for the latest DDR4 memory.
Jim McGregor, principal analyst, TIRIAS Research said that AMDs push into x86 embedded platforms is paying off with an increasing number of customers and applications.

“There is a need for immersive graphics, high-quality visualization, and parallel computing in an increasing number of embedded applications. Across these fronts, the AMD Embedded R-Series SOC is a very compelling solution.”

Scott Aylor, corporate vice president and general manager, AMD Embedded Solutions said that his outfit’s AMD Embedded R-Series SOC is a strong match for these needs in a variety of industries including digital signage, retail signage, medical imaging, electronic gaming machines, media storage, and communications and networking.

“The platform offers a strong value proposition for this next generation of high-performance, low-power embedded designs.”

The new AMD Embedded R-Series SOCs offer 22 percent improved GPU performance when compared to the 2nd Generation AMD Embedded R-Series APU2 and a 58 percent advantage against the Intel Broadwell Core i7 when running graphics-intensive benchmarks.

AMD released some of the specs for its integrated AMD Radeon graphics including:

Up to eight compute units4 and two rendering blocks

GPU clock speeds up to 800MHz resulting in 819 GFLOPS

•DirectX 12 support

Fully HSA Enabled

The AMD Embedded R-Series SOC was architected with embedded customers in mind and includes features such as industrial temperature support, dual-channel DDR3 or DDR4 support with ECC (Error Correction Code), Secure Boot, and a broad range of processor options.

It has a configurable thermal design power (cTDP) allows designers to adjust the TDPs from 12W to 35W in 1W increments for greater flexibility.

The SOC also has a 35 percent reduced footprint when compared to the 2nd Generation AMD Embedded R-Series APU, making it an excellent choice for small form factor applications.

AMD said that the range is the first embedded processor with dual-channel 64-bit DDR4 or DDR3 with Error-Correction Code (ECC), with speeds up to DDR4-2400 and DDR3-2133, and support for 1.2V DDR4 and 1.5V/1.35V DDR3.

Its dedicated AMD Secure Processor supports secure boot with AMD Hardware Validated Boot (HVB) and initiates trusted boot environment before starting x86 cores
It has a high-performance Integrated FCH featuring PCIe Gen3 USB3.0, SATA3, SD, GPIO, SPI, I2S, I2C, and UART

The AMD Embedded R-Series SOC provides industry-leading ten-year longevity of supply. The processors support Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Embedded 7 and 8 Standard, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and AMD’s all-open Linux driver including Mentor Embedded Linux from Mentor Graphics and their Sourcery CodeBench IDE development tools.

It will be interesting to see if AMD can make up the ground it has lost on PCs and higher ticket items. Most of the company still appears to be in a holding pattern until Zen arrives.


Is AMD Losing Top Scientist To nVidia?

October 27, 2015 by  
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AMD is reeling after the high profile exit of one its top CPU brains Phil to rival Nvidia.

The outfit has been going through hell lately. Last month AMD ace CPU architect Jim Keller stepped away from the company after completing his work on Zen.

Rogers was one of AMD’s high-ranking technology and engineering corporate fellows, and been responsible for helping to develop the software ecosystem behind AMD’s heterogeneous computing products and the Heterogeneous System Architecture.

He was a public figure for AMD and active on the software development and evangelism side, frequently presenting the latest HSA tech and announcements for AMD at keynotes and conferences.

While he is not the only person working on the software side of HSA at AMD, Rogers’ role in its development is important. Rogers was a major contributor to the HSA Foundation, helping to initially found it in 2012. He served as the Foundation’s president until he left AMD.

It seems his defection was kept secret, and took place sometime this quarter and did not manage to leak.

According to his LinkedIn profile Phil Rogers is now Nvidia’s “Chief Software Architect – Compute Server” which is similar to what he was doing over at AMD. Nvidia is not a member of the HSA Foundation, but they are currently gearing up for the launch of the Pascal GPU family, which has some features that overlap well with Phil Rogers’ expertise.

Pascal’s NVLink CPU & GPU interconnect would allow tightly coupled heterogonous computing similar to what AMD has been working on. It makes a fair bit of sense for Nvidia to bring over a heterogeneous compute specialist makes a great deal of sense.

Rogers’ departure from AMD will have to be mentioned on the earnings call on the 15th. AMD’s Gregory Stoner will probably replace him. Stoner is AMD’s current Senior Director of Compute Solutions Technology and long-time Vice President of the HSA Foundation.


MediaTek Building Ecosystem To Power IoT

October 12, 2015 by  
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MediaTek is quietly building an ecosystem to drive IoT strategy to push its System on Chip shipments across multiple devices.

The fabless chipmaker is signing partnerships with Amazon, Tinitell, Apple, and People Power.

MediaTek is starting to come out of the shadows in the West with its SoC designs. It sees the IoT as a way to push more of its chips.

It has put in a tender to buy power management outfit Richtek Technology to expand its leadership in Power Management Integrated Circuits (PMIC) to strengthen its overall capabilities for the IoT business model. The deal is expected to close in Q2 2016.

It has provided funding to People Power, a user engagement company providing apps, cloud and mobile services for IoT to further accelerate its penetration in the IoT market in both the U.S. and China, develop new IoT products based on its Fabrux and Influx software architecture

Release of two software development kits (SDKs) for Apple HomeKit, the framework in iOS 8 for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home.

This is on top of its partnership with Amazon for the latest devices – Amazon Fire TV is powered by MediaTek’s MT8173, a 64-bit quad-core processor and the world’s first multimedia SoC with ARM’s Cortex-A72 cores; Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10 tablets powered by MT8135, an up to 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, resulting in a fast and fluid user interface, and smooth running HD videos and high frame-rate games.

Chief Marketing Officer, Johan Lodenius said the company’s cunning plan was to innvovate widely available technology that provides integrated connectivity, while investing in and nurturing developers and the maker community to deliver practical yet innovative solutions.


Apple Finally Drops iCloud Storage Plan Prices

October 2, 2015 by  
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For the second time in as many years, Apple dropped prices for its expanded iCloud storage plans, putting costs in line with rivals like Google, Microsoft and Dropbox.

Apple announced changes to iCloud extra storage pricing earlier this month at the event where it unveiled new iPhones, the larger iPad Pro and a revamped Apple TV.

Although the Cupertino, Calif., company did not boost the amount of free storage space — as Computerworld speculated it might — and instead continued to provide just 5GB of iCloud space gratis, it bumped up the $0.99 per month plan from 20GB to 50GB, lowered the price of the 200GB plan by 25% to $2.99 monthly, and halved the 1TB plan’s price to $9.99.

Apple also ditched last year’s 500GB plan, which had cost $9.99 monthly.

The new prices are in line with the competition; in one case, Apple’s was lower.

Google, for example, hands out 15GB of cloud-based Google Drive storage for free — triple Apple’s allowance — and charges $1.99 monthly for 100GB and $9.99 each month for 1TB. The smaller-sized plan is 33% more per gigabyte than Apple’s 200GB deal, and Google’s 1TB plan is priced the same as Apple’s.

Microsoft also gives away 15GB. Additional storage costs $1.99 monthly for 100GB — the same price as Google Drive — while 200GB runs $3.99 per month, 33% higher than Apple’s same-sized plan.

Microsoft does not sell a separate 1TB OneDrive plan but instead directs customers to Office 365 Personal, the one-user subscription to the Office application suite. As part of the subscription, customers are given 1TB of OneDrive space. Office 365 Personal costs $6.99 monthly or $69.99 annually.


Did Apple Have Issues With iOS 9

September 29, 2015 by  
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Apple has officially released iOS 9, but in the first hour users reported that they were unable to grab the 1GB download.

“Software Update Failed,” the message read on iPhones and iPads. “An error occurred downloading iOS 9.”Computerworld confirmed the problem, initially seeing it on multiple iOS 8 devices. But after several subsequent attempts, the download successfully started about an hour after Apple issued the upgrade.

Similar reports of early problems were posted on Apple’s own support forums and elsewhere on the Internet. “Not a very helpful error,” wrote someone identified as “yanic” on the former.

Others countered with snark. “Strangely, this is not a ‘limited time offer,’ said “stedman 1″ on the same thread, likely referring to Microsoft’s Windows 10 free upgrade offer, which is valid for one year. “The software will be available tomorrow, and the next day, and next week.”

Some advice ended up being more helpful. “You are facing an overloaded server which is pretty typical of the first day a software revision comes out,” contended “Ralph Landry1″ on a different discussion thread.

Several iPhone owners who had said that they were unable to download iOS 9 returned to the same forum threads to report they had gotten the upgrade later.

Apple’s track record with iOS releases has been mixed. Last year’s iOS 8 roll-out seemingly started off smoothly — there were few initial complaints about getting the upgrade — but many soon griped that 8′s large size forced them to wipe apps and content from their devices before they could install the new OS.

iOS 9′s size and the free space requirements for installation were both reduced to address that problem of last year. The free space demand for iOS 9 fell to 1.3GB to 1.8GB from last year’s 4.5GB to 5GB.


Are Investors Losing Patience With Apple?

September 24, 2015 by  
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Investors fear that Apple has run out of ideas after it released a version of Microsoft’s surface pro and an iPhone, which was the same as last year’s.

Apple’s Tim Cook might have thought yesterday, as he walked away from the cheering crowds of Apple employees and rabid New York Times writers, that he had won the day.

However, Apple shares fell 1.9 percent as shareholders realised that there were no transformative products that could jumpstart the company’s sales ahead of the crucial holiday season.

Apple shares usually drop an average of 0.4 percent on the day of iPhone announcements because the hype never matches the reality but this is a much bigger fall.

The big iPad received a raspberry because it was too big and similar to Microsoft’s Surface tablet and the new iPhones were too similar to those released a year ago. The Apple Surface Pro even came with a stylus, which is something that Apple fanboys mocked for years. In fact the only innovative thing about it was that it required recharging every ten hours making it the chocolate teapot of pencils.

All they had which was new was the 3D Touch which is a “so what?” technology which no one really needed or cares about. It was certainly not worth upgrading to get.

Jobs’ Mob has clearly given up on any pretence of “thinking different” and short of ideas has copied itself and others.

We expected the Apple TV announcement to be hugely disappointing. Apple has mostly dialled back its ambitions this year as it plans a bigger telly service announcement next year. But you would think that after all these years not upgrading the Apple TV, Jobs Mob could have come up with some more interesting hardware.

What we got were demonstrations showed tricks to make viewing easier voice control which can rewind a video for 15 seconds and turn on subtitles, when a viewer asks something like “What did she say?”

Oddly Cook said that Apple had worked really hard, and really long on that project. The new set-top box will include an app store and let developers create new software for Apple TV, including video games.

Again nothing that you can’t get elsewhere and probably a lot cheaper.  We expect the Tame Apple Press will go into damage control limitation exercise and try to convince the world that everything is brilliant.  Watch the comments below for statements from “Apple investors” claiming that their shares have gone up and that there was tons in yesterday’s rally to get excited about.


AMD Increases FM2+ Lineup

September 22, 2015 by  
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AMD will expand its socket FM2+ chip lineup with three new parts – the A10-7890K and A8-7690K APUs, and the Athlon X4 880K CPU.

The new parts showed up on the compatibility list of socket FM2+ motherboards by BIOSTAR and it is not clear when they will be in the shops.

The architecture mentioned is “Kaveri,” but the silicon could be “Godavari” which is a Kaveri refresh.

The top of the range will be the A10-7890K, which has CPU clock speeds of 4.10 GHz out of the box. We do not know what the TurboCore frequency will be, but the current A10-7870K offers 3.90 GHz with 4.10 GHz TurboCore. The A8-7690K has a CPU clocks of 3.70 GHz. We are not sure what the iGPU clock speeds of the two chips.

The Athlon X4 880K is the most interesting. It has 4.00 GHz CPU clocks. The Athlon X4 FM2+ series lack integrated graphics that means that they are good for those who will buy discrete GPUs, on the FM2+ platform.

All three chips offer unlocked base-clock multipliers, enabling CPU overclocking.


Both AMD And nVidia Preparing For 14nm

September 4, 2015 by  
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AMD and Nvidia both appear to be certain to get their “14 nm” out next year.

According to TweakTown Nvidia is apparently dotting the “I” and working out where to put in the semi-colons for its Pascal GPU using TSMC’s 16nm FinFet node. AMD rumored has been wining and dining its old chums at GlobalFoundries to use its 14nm process for its Greenland GPU.

Although these sound like different technologies the “14nm and 16nm”  is difference how you measure a transistor. The outcome of both 14 and 16 should be a fairly same sized transistor with similar power features. TSMC calls its process 16nm FinFet, while Samsung and GloFo insist on calling it 14nm FinFet.

The dark satanic rumor mill suggests that the Greenland GPU, which has new Arctic Islands family micro-architecture, will have HBM2 memory. There will be up to 32GB of memory available for enthusiast and professional users. Consumer-oriented cards will have eight to 16GB of HBM2 memory. It will also have a new ISA (instruction set architecture).

It makes sense, AMD moved to HBM with its Fury line this year. Nvidia is expected to follow suit in 2016 with cards offering up to 32GB HBM2 as well.

Both Nvidia and AMD are drawn to FinFET which offers 90 percent more density than 28nm. Both will boost the transistors on offer with their next-generation GPUs, with 17 to 18 billion transistors currently being rumored.

Source- http://www.thegurureview.net/computing-category/are-both-amd-and-nvidia-readying-to-release-a-14nm-gpu.html

Apple TV Service Delayed Again

August 26, 2015 by  
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Apple Inc will push back rolling out its live TV service to at least next year, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the iPhone maker’s plans.

The company had planned to introduce the service, which is delivered over the Internet, this year.

Discussions with broadcasters such as CBS Corp and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc to license programming are progressing slowly, and lack of content has led Apple to scrap plans to announce the service at a Sept. 9 event, Bloomberg said.

Apple also lacked the computer network capacity to ensure a good viewing experience, Bloomberg said.

The company still plans to introduce a more powerful version of its Apple TV set-top box at the event, which will be held in San Francisco.

Apple was aiming to price the new service at about $30 to $40 a month, media reports have said.